Carrack stayed on board for album #6, Falling in Love, which delivered a UK Top Ten single in the form of Darlin', but as far as chart action was concerned that was, more or less, it, at least as far as material labelled as Frankie Miller was concerned. When I'm Away From You (the follow-up to Darlin’) might have failed to repeat the success but scored in the US Country charts for The Bellamy Brothers a few years down the track.

By this stage Miller was based in Nashville, where the final Chrysalis album Easy Money was recorded with a team of crack Music City session players and signalled a move into writing that yielded successful covers by, among others, The Bellamy Brothers, Johnny Cash, Kim Carnes, Joe Cocker, Etta James, Waylon Jennings, Roy Orbison, The Osmonds, Bob Seger, Rod Stewart,   Bonnie Tyler,  Joe Walsh and The Eagles. 

After Easy Money, a switch from Chrysalis to Capitol Records saw an eighth album (Standing on the Edge) recorded at Muscle Shoals in Alabama, with legendary Muscle Shoals Rhythm section and Dancing in the Rain recorded in New York with several collaborations with Jeff Barry, after a plan to re-record the Crystals’ Da Doo Ron Ron fell through.

Miller continued writing and recording through the eighties, with soundtrack credits on a number of movies and television series and was in the process of putting a new touring band together in New York with Joe Walsh (The Eagles), pianist Nicky Hopkins and drummer Ian Wallace when he suffered a massive brain haemorrhage and spent five months in a coma, followed by a lengthy spell of rehabilitation which explains the relative silence from a formerly prolific writer and performer. 

So that’s the Frankie Who? question answered. What about the seven albums (eight counting the original mix of High Life)?

Forty years on, Once In A Blue Moon rocks along nicely, Brinsley Schwarz bubbling away in the background and Miller in fine voice from the opening You Don't Need To Laugh through to the wry, slinky reading of I'm Ready that concludes proceedings, with plenty of interest in between. A particularly tasty rendition of Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues is probably the pick of ‘em, but there’s not a dud in sight.

The two versions of High Life have different running orders, and Chrysalis appears to have played around with some of the titles but both takes on Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)Trouble, With You In MindJust A Song and With You in Mind demonstrate an impressive match of soulful Scot and New Orleans funk and, again, there’s not a dud in sight. Actually, running through the two versions gives you a chance to hear some impressive material twice.

The recording venue changed to San Francisco for the Elliot Mazer-produced The Rock, with a title track musing on Miller’s likelihood of ending up somewhere like Alcatraz if he didn’t have something like his music to channel his energies into. Other highlights include A Fool In Love , Ain’t Got No Money and my personal favourite Drunken Nights in the City (not that I know anything about such matters).

The content up to this point fills two CDs in the hard copy version and the third kicks off with the 1976 single Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever b/w (that’s backed with for you young ‘uns who weren’t around for two-sided vinyl 45s) I'm Old Enough.

1977’s Full House kicks off in fine style with the magnificent Be Good To Yourself, follows it with a romp through The Doodle Song, which isn’t about what you might think, and then delivers a great reading of John Lennon’s Jealous Guy. The themes from those three tracks continue through Love LettersTake Good Care of Yourself and (I'll Never) Live in Vain with a sidetrack Down the Honky Tonk when medication is required to ease the heartache.

Things start to fall away slightly as Double Trouble veers off towards the rock end of the spectrum, with heavier riffs. No decline in the vocals, but the material isn’t (IMHO, mileages may vary) as strong as the earlier efforts. Flashier presentation but less substance, though the album finishes on a strong note with a rousing Goodnight Sweetheart.


© Ian Hughes 2012